Tom Brake says NO to online pets

Today, Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington says “No” to buying exotic animals online in the UK after attending the launch in Parliament of ‘One Click Away.”

Tom backed a campaign on Wednesday calling on the Government to undertake a review of exotic pet breeding, trade and keeping across the UK, improve the enforcement of all relevant legislation concerning the sale of exotic pets and review the Pet Animals Act 1951 to reflect the increasing sale of animals over the internet.

Tom Brake MP said:

“This new report makes it clear that much more needs to be done to improve regulating the sale of exotic pets in the UK. The Internet has made exotic pets available at the click of a button, resulting in both mis-selling and unsuitable and sometimes dangerous animals being made readily available to the general public. I was able to confirm how easy it is to buy exotic pets, just by googling ‘exotic pets for sale UK’.  Boas, pythons, iguanas are all on sale. But I question whether all buyers have the expertise to ensure the welfare of these unusual pets?”

"It’s clear from the new research that the welfare of exotic animals in the UK is often not being adequately met and that existing legislation and its enforcement falls short of protecting these often vulnerable animals.”

The report published jointly by animal welfare charities Blue Cross and the Born Free Foundation (available here:, finds that hundreds of exotic pets (at the time of the research) are available online on various websites, often poorly or incompletely listed, including:

  • From a sample of 1,796 online ads, at least 53 different types of reptile, 37 types of exotic bird, 28 types of exotic mammal, and 7 types of amphibians were advertised for sale.

  • Unsuitable animals, including potentially dangerous animals, are widely available for sale to the general public.

  • Specialist advice on animal care and welfare is almost entirely lacking on most websites, and no checks are made on whether animals are sold to inexperienced owners.

  • Animals considered particularly vulnerable to welfare problems in captivity, such as primates, chameleons and iguanas, were advertised for sale.

Steve Goody, Deputy Chief Executive of Blue Cross said:

“The findings of this report demonstrate beyond doubt the need for an urgent review of the regulation of the online sale of exotic animals as pets. Blue Cross cares for thousands of sick and injured animals each year and in recent years we have seen an increase in the number and variety of exotic pets brought to our hospitals, often requiring specialist care. We challenge the Government to take action on this issue and ensure that steps are taken to protect the welfare of animals bought and sold online.”


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